Challenges and best-practices of co-creation: A qualitative interview study in the field of climate services


Climate services are becoming instrumental for providing actionable climate information to society. To understand the needs of society, climate service providers increasingly engage in processes of co-creation with practitioners. Yet, while these science-practice interactions are highly promising to match the demand and supply side of climate services, they come with challenges of their own. Potential barriers include difficulties in mutual understanding, diverging perspectives on the research problem, or a lack of resources and training in engaging with practice partners. Importantly, however, these barriers are surmountable if properly addressed. In this paper, we present the results of a series of interviews with researchers working in the funding line European Research Area for Climate Services (ERA4CS). We identify five challenges that these researchers are facing in their interactions with practice partners. From these challenges, we infer best practices that can help to strengthen such interactions. In line with other suggestions in the literature, we propose the role of a boundary manager as a promising way to put these best practices into action. This mediating role between science and society either can be taken by scientists themselves, or can be institutionalized as a dedicated position within climate service organizations. Adding to the experience that climate service providers already have, increased emphasis on boundary management could further improve their science-practice engagements
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